ark IIARK II (1976) – In the postapocalyptic 25th Century, the year 2476 to be precise, Earth has been left devastated and transformed by warfare and pollution. Surviving scientists send out a team of explorers in a discount Damnation Alley vehicle and wearing Logan’s Run clothing. The crew of Ark II are to learn what pockets of humanity have survived and help them begin rebuilding civilization.

This half-hour, 15-episode science fiction series was targeted at young audiences, but it’s tolerable for adults, too, if the whole family wants to watch it. Very often the Ark II staff must liberate settlements from tyranny or stop them from repeating humanity’s mistakes of the past.

ark ii vehicleThe crew of the “futuristic” vehicle were Jonah (Terry Lester), Samuel (Jose Flores), Ruth (Jean Marie Hon) and the intelligent chimp Moochie (Adam), voiced by Lou Scheimer. Ark II was outfitted with elaborate equipment that was perfect for experiments, medical emergencies and for everyday survival, like the ability to produce whatever kind of food was desired.

The larger Ark II vehicle also came with a smaller vehicle – the Ark Roamer – for shorter jaunts. Think of the Moon Buggies used by a few of the Apollo missions. Another piece of equipment was the Jet Jumper, a personal flying device depicted by the same stock footage over and over again.

The moral and ethical “lessons” of each episode are far from subtle and are often insulting to an adult’s intelligence, but, as noted above, Ark II was targeted primarily at children. The episodes:

ark ii castTHE FLIES – Ted Post himself directed this episode, in which the Ark II bunch encountered an army led by Warlord Brack (Malachi Throne) and stopped them from preying on a band of child thieves led by a futuristic Fagin named … Fagon, played by the iconic Jonathan Harris. Poison gas warfare is averted. The village ruled by Brack is the set from the 1970s Planet of the Apes television series.   

THE SLAVES – Hollingsworth Morse directed this story about the Ark II heroes freeing a settlement from the tyrannical rule of Baron Vargas (Michael Kermoyan), an evil scientist who uses his inventions to convince his enslaved subjects that he is a sorcerer. 

THE WILD BOY – On a geophysical expedition, Jonah and the others must save a feral boy (Mitch Vogel) from the community that regards him with fear. In addition, the expedition discovers underground crystals which glow to deadly effect. Hollingsworth Morse directed once again.

robby the robotTHE ROBOT – Ted Post was back in the director’s chair for this episode. Samuel creates a robot to help explore a region filled with deadly mist. The robot, called Alpha-One, is THE Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, Lost in Space and Spaced Out.

OMEGA – Helen Hunt guest-stars as Diana in a tale about the Ark II crew risking their lives to deactivate a super-computer which has enslaved a community of human survivors. The computer is housed within a formidable black monolith of sorts. Morse directed.

THE TANK – On a mission to remove any surviving weaponry from a battlefield of one of the global conflicts, the Ark II staff encounter a community of Luddites who have banned machinery. When roving marauders kidnap their leader’s daughter (Bonnie Van Dyke), the people change their mind about technology and let our heroes save her. Directed by Post.

ark ii interiorTHE CRYOGENIC MAN – Post directed again as the Ark II crew revive two figures from the 20th Century who have been preserved cryogenically. One of them is Arnie Pool (Jim Backus), a former tycoon who wants to resume the manufacture of his chemical fertilizer which causes pollution. Naturally, he is stopped.

THE RULE – Our heroes encounter a community of survivors who refuse to abandon the harsh rules they’ve lived under for so long. When one of those rules demands that any citizens who fall ill must be exiled to die, the Ark II staff intervene. Philip Abbot guest-starred as Ted Post directed.

jump jetROBIN HOOD – A futuristic outlaw calling himself Robin Hood robs food from the tyrant hoarding it from his suffering subjects. The Ark II crew arrive to restore peace and fair rule to the region. Richard Angarola plays Lord Leslie and Victor Rogers plays Robin Hood. Hollingsworth Morse directed.

THE DROUGHT – Ark II is sent to recover a very old time capsule which contains a cloud-seeding device. Their efforts are complicated by a tribe of human survivors who worship the time capsule and by the returning Fagon and his young Flies. Ted Post directed. 

THE LOTTERY – Our heroes arrive to save a suffering community being ruled over by a dictator named Kane (Zitto Kazan), who exiles all those who oppose him to a hostile Forbidden Zone. Once again, Ted Post was the director.

ark ii title cardTHE MIND GROUP – The Ark II staff are tracking down three children with telepathic powers. The children, including Dawn Lyn from My Three Sons, distrust all “talkers” aka non-telepaths. The trail leads our heroes back into the territory claimed by Warlord Brack. Morse directed.

THE BALLOON – Red balloons arrive bearing messages of an epidemic afflicting a remote community of survivors. Ark II is sent to deliver a vaccine, but the region’s leader (Guy Stockwell) hates and distrusts all outsiders and does not want to let the crew enter the area. Hollingsworth Morse directed.

ark ii ruthDON QUIXOTE – The Ark II crew is once again removing unexploded weaponry left over from one of the global conflicts. The task is complicated when the vehicle is deemed a “dragon” and attacked by a deluded futuristic Don Quixote (Robert Ridgely) and his Sancho Panza (Vito Scotti). Directed by Ted Post.

ORKUS – Our heroes clash with Orkus (Geoffrey Lewis), the megalomaniacal leader of a settlement of survivors whose toxic pollution of a nearby lake causes rapid aging. Orkus also plans to seize Ark II and use it to power his community. Directed by Henry J. Lange Jr. 




Filed under Forgotten Television

6 responses to “ARK II (1976) – FORGOTTEN TELEVISION

  1. Beyond forgotten, unheard of! All of them! So cool that you find this stuff. Do you have “B movie” nights (or even “C movie” nights)? Some have a feel that may never be recreated.

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